There have been protests in southeastern Turkey against a wall being built along the border with Syria in a bid to control illegal movement. In largely Kurdish Nusaybin district, plans call for the wall to span just a fraction of the 900-kilometre border, but this highlights Ankara’s growing concern about the spillover of violence from northern Syria, a battleground for armed groups who want territory. A local official in Nusaybin did not confirm how long the wall would be.
The mayor of the village is on a hunger strike to stop construction.
A resident said: “Putting up a wall here means separating the Kurdish people. We know who is being divisive. The people of Nusaybin do not accept this. We will react. Our mayor is not alone.”
Kurdish politician Resat Kaymaz said: “We’ve said it before, this is a wall of shame. Walls around the world have been brought down. Some took a while, but they’ve been brought down. We are fighting for this wall not to be built. But if it goes up, it will come down. This is not a wall being built on a border. This is a wall being built between the people of Kurdistan. We want the building to stop.”
Turkey – open to refugees – is sheltering around half a million people who have fled the war in Syria, but smugglers and rebel fighters have been able to cross the border undetected in many remote areas and it is a major security challenge.